Saturday, October 15, 2011

Read anything and everything




So as a librarian, the question I get asked most often is how do I get my children to read or to read more?  My first question to them is what does your child like to read?  Usual answer, nothing.

So what is up with the lack of love of reading?  Is it a new thing?  Can we blame the internet?  Personally, I blame parents.  Okay okay, hear me out.  Not every parent is to blame for their child's lack of love of reading.  The love reading is complex thing.  Well in reality, all love is complex but anyways.

How can a parent help their child read/love to read/read more?  I think, this is totally just me, no research, just an opinion, parents need to read.  Your child needs to see that you read.  If the parent reads then the child will see that reading is important.  They see reading and then they begin to think that should read.  Simple, right?  Be the change you want to see.

Many times when I ask parents for a topic for books for their children, the parent has no clue.  Well I think she might like a book on fairies.  Do you have anything for a 3rd grader?  Reading level has nothing to do with developing a love of reading.  I have read things above my head (anything Shakespeare) and things that super easy but keep my attention (Don't let the pigeon drive the bus).  Telling a librarian a grade level doesn't really mean much unless your only goal is AR points.  (I hate AR but that's a post for another day).

I know the next problem is my child is behind.  My child has a special issue.  My child can't read so how can they ever love to read?  I have watched children who are mentally handicapped enjoy books.  Looking at the pictures and being read to are things anyone can do and love.  To bring your child's reading level up read with and to them.  So again the parent needs to have an active role.

My own reading journey starts with my dad.  My dad is a reader.  My grandfather was a reader.  I am a reader.  My child is a reader.  How do you have a line of readers?  You read.  It is not unusual to see DH, Audrey and myself reading in front of the TV.  Yes the TV is on and no one is paying it any attention.

I know that in schools the focus is on testing and that makes reading level most important.  Your child's reading level should not be the only focus when you choose a something to read.  READ ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING.  Read a cereal box at breakfast.  Read the funny pages.  Read the Wall Street Journal to your baby.  The what is not important.  Reading in and of itself is the important thing.  Please let your child read a manga/comic book.  If they are excited then let them read it.  Parents read, read to your child and read with your child.  If you want a reader in your house then you have to be the example.  If you talk about how horrible reading is or how dumb it is to read then don't be surprised when you a child that hates reading.

Please ask the school and/or public librarian for help.  We love to help people find the right book but don't look at us cross eyed when we ask you for help.  We're librarians not mind readers.  Find your library and use it.  Choose graphic novels, picture books, long fiction books, maybe even a magazine and take them home.  Don't force it.  If you put the example and read something then your child might just start picking through the pile and read something too.